How To Set Up A Twitter Retargeting Campaign


Martin Daniel

July 21, 2015 7 min read

Updated on May 2, 2017

The internet is always teeming with plethora of information, data, offers, etc. There are always products that people are either researching about or buying. Many of those buyers don’t make a purchase the first time they visit a site, some might even get as far as putting a product in the basket but then the doorbell goes or the phone rings or the cat just knocked over a glass of water and that purchase is forgotten.

As marketers, the question we ask ourselves is ‘how do we bring back these high value customers, who have already shown interest in your product, service or brand, back to the website when they are ready to make a purchase’. Retargeting is a marketing solution that helps answer that question.

Retargeting (or remarketing to some people) serves relevant and contextual ads to your site visitors by placing a pixel on your website, serving up ads on other websites that they visit and hopefully win their business. There are many retargeting methods and platforms, but in this article we’ll be focusing on how to set up a retargeting campaign on Twitter.

David Howell from Incite Group reports that “Retargeting in 2015 will become more understood and play an increasingly central role in a holistic approach to social media marketing“.     

According to Digital Information World, 68% of marketing agencies and 49% of brands are moving dollars from traditional display advertising to retargeting.

With the introduction of Tailored Audiences option, Twitter made it possible for advertisers to define their existing and potential customers and connect with them on Twitter via relevant and targeted ads. With the help of tailored audiences you can reach users on Twitter who have shown interest in your brand or category even away from the Twitter platform,in places like your website or landing pages.

Now, we can take a look at the step by step process of setting up a basic Twitter campaign using tailored audiences. To get a holistic view on running a social media campaign we highly recommend you to read through the Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing to get a better handle of the kinds of objectives, resources and points of measurement that are important to your campaign. With a clear understanding of pre-execution campaign details like budget, social media performance indicators, business objectives and resources required, you will find setting up a retargeting campaign much easier. You can also check out our post on how to setup a successful Facebook retargeting campaign.

Create a website tag:

The first step will be to install the website or remarketing tag. This tag will collect website data for retargeting purposes and we can create tailored audiences based on these website visitors collected by the tag.

Go to ads.twitter.com and click ‘Tools’ tab and select ‘Conversion Tracking’ from the drop down menu. Once you are on the Conversion Tracking page, click on the ‘Create new website tag’ button towards the right of the page.


Give a descriptive name to the website tag and select the type of conversion you want to track with the website tag. The available conversion types are Site Visit, Purchase, Sign Up, Download, or Custom. Choose ‘Site Visit’ to set up a retargeting campaign.

Now set the time window for Post-Engagement’ and Post-View’ attribution. Post-Engagement is the time window that credits Twitter with the conversions that happen after a person engages with the ads. Post-View is the time window when a person sees your ads and does not engage with it, but visits your website later and converts. The default setting for both the attributions windows is 14 days, but you can customize it based on the duration of your campaign. The other options for the time windows are 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 14, 30, 60 and 90 days.


It’s time to generate the code snippet for your website tag. Click on the ‘Save tag and generate code snippet’ button at the bottom of the page to generate the code. This code snippet should be pasted just before the closing HTML </body> tag of the website. If you are not able to do this yourself, you can seek the help of your IT team to do it for you.


Set up the Campaign:

To set up the Twitter campaign click on the ‘Campaigns’ tab on the Twitter Ads manager page. Click on the ‘Create new campaign’ button towards the right to select a list of campaign objectives from the drop down menu.

Select ‘Website clicks or conversions’ option for setting up a retargeting campaign.


On the subsequent page, you can give your campaign a name that describes your campaign objective and select the time period you want to run your campaign. Now select the key conversion tag to track the performance of this campaign. In this case, it would be the website tag that we had set up in the previous section.


Compose tweets using Twitter website cards:

Instead of a plain tweet, use a website card to set up the creatives for your retargeting campaign. Website cards are extra content that enhances your tweet and improves campaign performance. A website card consists of an image, a call-to-action  button and a link to our website or landing page. A website card will be visible on the Twitter feed, when compared to an ordinary tweet and will in turn engage better. You don’t need to add any extra code on your website to use the website cards.


Type in the website or landing page URL you want direct anyone who clicks on your ads and upload an image that you’d like to use for the website card. You can use 70 characters for the headline to go along with the image on the website card. Then select the appropriate call-to-action for the ad using the drop down menu.

Check out this complete guide to Twitter cards from the guys over at Buffer.

Set the targeting options and budget:

Using the targeting options provided by Twitter you can choose the target your ads to users from a specific location like countries, regions, cities, postal codes. Based on your target audience choose the gender and language options and you can also target people based on their devices and platforms. If you are promoting a mobile app it’s wise to target users with iOS, Windows or Android devices. According to Adroll, 57% of B2B marketers and 51% of B2C marketers are using retargeting on mobile. 


There are other lists of targeting options that you can use like targeting based on followers, interest, behaviours, etc. You can experiment with these based on your knowledge of your audience and your industry. It’s wise to set up a new campaign for each targeting options for easy and better monitoring and measuring the performance of your campaigns. The key option is to add the tailored audience list of your website visitors. This option enables the promoted tweets or ads to be targeted only to the persons on the tailored audience list.


The next step will be to set up your daily budget, which will be the average amount you are willing to spend each day on the campaign. You can also set up a total budget by allocating a maximum spend toward your campaign and the campaign will stop running once the budget is exhausted.

Choose the campaign optimization and set it to optimize for website conversions since we are running a retargeting campaign. In terms of the bids for the campaign, you have three options to choose from: automatic bid, target bid and maximum bid. Its safer to use the maximum bid option since you tell Twitter the maximum amount you are willing to pay and you won’t exceed your maximum bid amount.


Now that you have set the budget, click on the ‘save and review’ button at the bottom which will provide with a summary of your campaign settings. You can hit the ‘Launch campaign’ button to start running your Twitter retargeting campaign.

Measure your performance:

You have successfully set up your first Twitter retargeting campaign and now it’s time to track and measure the performance of your campaign. You can check out how your campaign is performing by logging onto the Twitter Ads dashboard where you’ll get a quick snapshot of the key metrics like impressions, engagement, spend and conversions. You can also dive in deeper into each of the metrics, by clicking the appropriate tabs, which will help you get more granular data on how your campaigns are performing.

Since you are sending your target audience to your website, it makes sense to track metrics like sessions, bounce rate, session duration, etc using Google Analytics.

Best of luck with your Twitter retargeting campaign!


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